Don Stuff, Part 2: Ranch Dressing

Best. Ranch. Ever. #BestRanchDressing. Best ranch dressing. #RanchDressingRules

Sorry. I’m trying to go viral because after a lifetime obsessing about ranch dressing (if “lifetime” can be defined by “since college”), I’ve found ranch nirvana. 

#RanchNirvana (hashtags will get me famous).

It’s pretty simple really. Get this ranch base from Penzeys Spices. Put a heaping tablespoon in with 1 cup buttermilk and 1 cup mayonnaise. Mix with excitement. Done.

I’m not alone in my obsession. I think obese America is obsessed with ranch dressing. Sometimes I can’t believe, prior to 1992, that I dipped french fries in ketchup and dipped my breadsticks or mozzarella sticks in marinara sauce. Oh, what a hopeless fool I was. 

My new thing is being plant-based and avoiding added, unnecessary chemicals in food. ALL store-bought ranch has chemicals. Even the brands with very little still have ’em. Ranch done right is mayo, buttermilk, and spices for flavor. That’s it. I’ve tried some homemade recipes and my own mix of spices, but never got that right flavor. Now, with Penzeys Spices ranch base …I’ve nailed it. Well, they’ve nailed it.

Even my teenage daughter, known for never liking anything her Dad does, is on board with the best ranch ever.

For my family, the gold-standard ranch is whatever ranch they use at Jet’s Pizza (which I was told is Marzetti’s, but we don’t believe it). Following Jet’s ranch is the ranch my Aunt Denise makes with Hidden Valley’s seasoning packet (it has quite a few chemical preservatives I don’t need). Then there’s the ranch they have at Zehnder’s in Frankenmuth followed by store-bought Marzetti’s in a jar.

That’s it. That’s the list. You’d think this is a pretty simple mission. Eat the best ranch. But oh no. For too long we’ve opted for ease and convenience of whatever bottle of ranch is cheapest at the store (usually the Kroger brand which is serviceable at best). 

No more!!!

Plus, the math works out in my favor. A 16oz bottle Kroger brand ranch is, like, $2.99. My family goes through a bottle of ranch a week (should I be admitting that?). $12 per month.  The small Penzeys Spices jar is $4.69. One bottle of buttermilk is $1.99 (3 cups). Mayonnaise is $1.99. Total $8.69 and I can make the recipe three times and . . . I won’t show you my notepad and the complex math, but it works out to $11.58 per month, which isn’t a huge savings, but what is the price of my happiness and the price of less (zero) added chemicals in my ranch?

I know ranch isn’t good for you in any shape and form. Mayonnaise and buttermilk are, well, fat (and not plant-based …I get it …I’m a hypocrite …but I’m going to try a version of this with vegan mayo and buttermilk alternative and then my teen daughter will roll her eyes at me and report back). But my family eats healthy. I eat lots of salads. I make cauliflower hot wings and vegan zucchini poppers, for goodness sake. Let me have my ranch to dip things in! 

For now, this is my public service to the world. If you’re going to have ranch, why not make it count? Like coffee? If I’m going to have 2 cups a day, what’s the price of getting a can of Maxwell house and hating every sip? I pay a little more for fresh, locally roasted beans. Now my ranch is local, chemical-free, and every bite of my salad makes me happier. If you love ranch and this Blog post has attracted the thousands of readers I’d hoped it would, join my revolution. #ranchRevolution

As the Partridge Family once said, “come on get happy.”  Viva la ranch.

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